Helicobacter pylori (HP) is believed to be involved in the transition from normal gastric mucosa to atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia. Infection with the organism is one of the risk factors for development of intestinal-type gastric adenocarcinoma, possibly through altered cell turnover. Medical eradication of HP is widely performed for the treatment of peptic ulcers and other upper gastrointestinal disorders. Eradication of HP may affect altered cell turnover of the gastric mucosa caused by the infection, but there are few reports comparing sterilized mucosa with HP- infected and non-infected mucosa. In this study, we examined cell damage using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end labeling (TUNEL), in situ nick translation (ISNT), and cell proliferation by Ki 67 immunohistochemistry staining in gastric mucosa before and after HP eradication and in non-infected gastric mucosa. We then compared these findings using endoscopic gastric biopsy specimens. Labeling indices of TUNEL (2.46 ± 1.22), ISNT (1.13 ± 0.42), and Ki67 (21.8 ± 6.14) in tissue from which HP had been eradicated were significantly lower than those of HP- infected mucosa (6.36 ± 2.26, 4.00 ± 1.62, 45.8 ± 5.35, for TUNEL, ISNT, and Ki67, respectively). There were no significant differences between formerly infected and non-infected mucosa (TUNEL: 2.26 ± 0.69, ISNT: 1.29 ± 0.63, Ki67:23.5 ± 8.20). These results indicate that medical HP eradication results in decreased cell proliferation and damage, restoring the condition seen in non-infected mucosa. Thus, HP eradication may be effective, not only in the treatment of gastric ulcers or gastric symptoms, but also in the prevention o f gastric carcinoma.
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